The capital city of Scotland is world famous for its Hogmanay, or New Year, celebrations and also the Fringe comedy festival, but Edinburgh offers a whole host of great things to see and do at any time of year that it should be on your list of great places to visit.
The imposing Edinburgh Castle stands to watch over the city and is found at the head of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s most famous street. The shops here sell all things Scottish; kilts of your clan name, fine Scottish Malt Whisky or just a souvenir key-ring of Edinburgh. If you have just a day to explore the delights of this great city then we will start with a tour of this 11th Century castle that houses the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny.
TOP TIP – If you are a serving member or veteran of the armed forces you can get free access for you and your family to the castle.
After your Edinburgh Castle tour, head down the Royal Mile and look out for the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. This is a fun way to spend an hour or two and you will get to see some great technological trickery to get your mind in a twist. If you fancy more traditional methods of fooling your mind then instead of the Camera Obscura go over to the opposite side of the road and enjoy a tasting session in the Scotch Whisky Experience…strictly for the adults this one.
Now your head is reeling from either of the previous stops grab a breath of fresh air and keep walking down the Royal Mile, past the medieval gothic architecture of Saint Giles’ Cathedral, and make your way onto Princes Street via the well thought and immaculate gardens. The Scott Monument is open to the public and you can climb the 287 steps to the top of this gothic revival spire for amazing views of the city. The citizens of Edinburgh built this monument for the Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott, and it is the largest of its kind in dedication to a writer in the world.
Walking along Princes Street you will be tempted by the best shops and boutiques of Edinburgh but we are going to try and avoid the temptation of retail therapy for the moment and head east towards Calton Hill and the National Monument, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, seen on many images of Edinburgh. From here you can see our next port of call, Holyrood Palace at the bottom of the hill and about a 15 minute walk away.
Holyrood Palace was the ancestral home of the Stuarts and you can enjoy a taste of the Scottish clan life through the royal reception rooms and marvel at the family heirlooms and antiques that fill the palace. It is a beautiful building and even if you decline the guided tour and decide to just walk around the gardens, you are in for a treat.
Head back up the Royal Mile, passing the Scottish Parliament Building and look out for the quirky Museum of Edinburgh on Canongate. From the outside, this red and yellow building does not look like any museum you may have seen before, but inside it is full of the history, folklore, and legends of Edinburgh city.
We are now heading back into the Old Town and will make our way towards the Grassmarket and Greyfriars kirkyard. The story of Greyfriars Bobby was made immortal by the film of the same name and you can visit the grave and see a statue of the loyal little dog whose love for his master knew no limits.
You can now make a short trip around the corner to the Grassmarket where a host of restaurants and bars await you. After a day walking around this wonderful city you are sure to have built up an appetite and perhaps a thirst.
So enjoy a ‘wee dram’ of your favorite whiskey and drink a toast to Edinburgh.
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An experienced freelance writer who has produced articles that have appeared in both traditional print publications as well as found across many websites in a huge variety of genres and specialist niches. He is also the author of a gritty and thrilling series of crime novels featuring DCI Peter Carter of the Homicide & Serious Crime Unit of the London Metropolitan Police.